Intel® Extreme Masters (IEM) Rio 2023 has come to a thrilling end, with Team Vitality emerging victorious after an intense competition between 16 of the best Counter-Strike: Global Offensive (CS:GO) teams from around the world. The competition was held from April 17-23, and the final three days took place in front of a passionate crowd at the iconic Jeunesse Arena in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil.
The Group Stage began on April 17, with the participating teams competing in two groups of eight. The six best teams – BIG, Cloud9, FURIA, Heroic, Natus Vincere, and Team Vitality – then proceeded to the live Playoffs on April 21-23, where they faced off against each other in front of an energetic crowd. In the first Semi Final, Team Vitality completed the reverse sweep over Cloud9 to advance to the Grand Final on April 23. During the other Semi Final, Heroic managed to close out the match with back-to-back rounds, 16-9, meaning they secured their spot as Finalists of an IEM competition in the Brazilian coastal city for the second time.
Team Vitality kicked off the Grand Final strong by winning the first seven rounds back-to-back, and managed to fend off a powerful Heroic comeback to clinch the first game on Vertigo. In the second round, things were looking good for Team Vitality, but Heroic came back strong to tie the match after 11 rounds. However, this wasn’t enough to stop the French organization from claiming their deserved place as the Intel® Extreme Masters Rio 2023 champions, and denying Heroic their first IEM title.
After a hard-fought and exciting match, Team Vitality beat Heroic, with a score of 2-0 winning the coveted trophy and taking home the lion’s share of the $250,000 prize pool and a win in the race to the Intel® Grand Slam V and its $1,000,000 cash prize. As the winners of IEM Rio 2023, they join G2 Esports and FaZe Clan as the third team to qualify for a spot in the Group Stage of IEM Cologne 2023. Team Vitality player, Mathieu “ZywOo” Herbaut, also secured the DHL MVP award which is judged on a combination of player performance, fan voting, and broadcast talent voting.
Starting the Group Stage from the lower bracket, Team Vitality defeated MIBR, FaZe Clan, and OG, 2-0, 2-0, 2-1, respectively to qualify for the Playoffs which saw the international squad only lose one game throughout the final phase of the tournament.
Team Vitality’s Dan “apEX” Madesclaire commented: “I’m proud of the boys but what we need to remember is that last time, we won the last tournament before the Major and we messed up. So, now we know what [we] have to do. It’s a game of confidence for sure and I think we were the better team today.
I think the biggest improvement we had was our map pool, right now it is getting really good. We worked a lot on our weakest map; this shows it. That’s one tournament win in 2023 and I hope for some more.”
Fans from Brazil and beyond had the opportunity to experience the excitement of the competition live during the Playoff Stage and witness the top teams in action. IEM Rio 2023 saw a peak viewership of more than 562,000* and attracted more than 15,000 fans over the final three days.
Local favorites FURIA, MIBR, and Imperial Sportsbet thrilled the home crowds, showing their skills and determination against top-tier teams from around the world. FURIA managed to get all the way through to the quarterfinals where they were eventually defeated by Heroic, while both MIBR and Imperial Sportsbet got eliminated after losing their first two matches.
While at IEM Rio, fans around the world got to see some of their favourite players compete in a one-off show match on Counter Strike 2 with Team Brasil, featuring Gabriel “FalleN” Toledo, Epitácio “TACO” de Melo, and Kaike “KSCERATO” Cerato, going against Team World, including Christopher “GeT_RiGhT” Alesund and Oleksandr “s1mple” Kostyljev. In the end, Team World bagged the win with a result of 16-8.
Next up in the ESL Pro Tour for CS:GO are the currently ongoing ESL Challenger League Season 45 concluding on May 28, ESL Challenger Melbourne in Melbourne, Australia, on April 28 – 30, and IEM Dallas 2023 in Dallas, Texas, USA, on May 29 – June 4. For more information the latest updates about ESL’s CS:GO esports ecosystem, head to the official ESL Pro Tour website, and follow ESL CS on Twitter, Instagram, and Facebook.
*According to Escharts